April 10, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend,

Last Friday, I was wishing I had a back-up Bob to stand-in for me. A convincing clone would have been convenient, just for one day. I was committed to a newly-formed class of Master's Program participants in Orange County, coming together for their first all-day session. At the same time, my heart was in an auditorium at a church up the freeway, ten miles away. I missed the memorial service for my first adult-era mentor, Lorin Griset.

I was a young businessman - early 20's - when Lorin called for the first time. How did he get my number? Lorin was a high school classmate of my mother's in Santa Ana, in the late '30's. He was a veteran of World War II; in fact, he had been captured twice by the Germans, and liberated twice from camps by the Allies. Back in Orange County after the war, he put his UCLA business degree to work in his own insurance agency and made a name for himself in post-war Southern California.

Lorin's uncle was a man named Cameron Townsend, who founded Wycliffe Bible Translators. He had a lifetime commitment - at the board level - to Wycliffe's mission of Bible translation. Lorin established his family's connections at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, an independent Bible-teaching church in which he served every committee and board, over a sixty year span. In the early '50's, he brought the Christian Businessmen's Committee (CBMC) to Orange County, and for over five decades was that outreach ministry's most motivated proponent. He was the Mayor of Santa Ana at a crucial time of the city's history - '69-'74 - when the community was morphing from a predominantly-white bedroom community into a multi-ethnic county seat. He was the sparkplug who mobilized the Christian community in Southern California to bring Billy Graham to Anaheim Stadium for a ten-night crusade in 1969.

It was about 1974 when I got on Lorin's "list." A respected elder statesman in my church - and my city - it was flattering and humbling to have my phone ring - at least once a week- and to hear Lorin "after me" to attend the weekly breakfast event for CBMC. It wasn't long before his times with me expanded into a mentoring relationship. Lorin had a penchant for getting other people involved in things they would have never considered.... had he not persisted until you said "yes."

Lorin was behind my "election" to Chairman of the CBMC in Santa Ana. He was my "campaign manager" for my appointment to County Chairman for CBMC. My invitation to the Executive Committee for Mr. Graham's 1985 Crusade in Anaheim? Who else? My election to the Board of Trustees at Biola University? My nomination to the elder board at Calvary Church when I was only 28? I didn't need the CSI lab to run those fingerprint analyses: he was behind much of my early acceleration into Kingdom leadership.

Lorin and Dorothy affirmed Cheri and me as we made the leap from business to ministry in 1984. I don't think he missed a month - in over 20 years - in sending a donation to Priority Living, to support our work. Lorin discipled hundreds of businessmen into a newfound faith in Jesus Christ. He never discipled me; instead, his role in my life was that of a mentor, committed to take my already mature belief system... and show me how to put it into action.

He referred to me as "one of his sons." I felt it. He was more of a dad to me than my own dad; I had more interest in growing up to be like Lorin than I had in growing up to be like my own father.

I've found my calling in mentoring men who are leaders. I'm passing along what Lorin gave to me. I'll miss you, buddy. When I get where I'm goin' ... put me back on your list and give me a call.

Bob Shank

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